I’m a doer. I love to be busy. Anyone who knows me knows my schedule is always moving, and I love being on the go. Not in a burn yourself out kind of way, but more like an action packed, get things done kind of way.
I love lunch dates and play dates. And I almost always have a project on my to do list. It’s not wrong or right, just part of who I am. My mother used to call me a little ant….always moving.
So for someone with a personality like mine, I struggle when I come face to face with teachings about rest and the Sabbath. Not because I don’t believe in them and know their worth or truth, but because implementing Sabbath requires so much WORK for me.
It seems ridiculous, but it’s true. Being still. Resting. Doing nothing drives me bonkers! It’s work for me to still my soul. Oh friends, can I confess that!
For many years the Sabbath was a struggle for me. Until I came face to face with the Holy Spirit about what my disobedience to rest really means to Him.
Life altering I tell you.
As I walk through Exodus again, I am reminded over and over of the importance of the Sabbath in our lives.
God is speaking with Moses on Mount Sinai, in a personal one on one meeting, the God of Heaven commands His law to the people on Earth and we find in His fourth command:
Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
Six days you shall labor and do all your work,
but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.
This is not the only place where we find God speaking about the Sabbath…in fact He gives commands about this day over and over in the book of Exodus. What the Holy Spirit taught me about the Sabbath is by my failing to observe rest, it had more to say about the condition of my heart than it did my desire to accomplish work.
Keeping Sabbath focuses our hearts on God versus ourselves.
What makes me think I know everything? How can I possibly come to God and tell Him I don’t need rest? Who am I to think I can do everything I am called by God to do, in a plan other than the one He laid out for me to follow?
When I fail to take Sabbath I tell God His plan isn’t right, He doesn’t know what He’s talking about, and I can do things better. Y’all. I thought those things. FOR YEARS! I was busy doing the work of God without following the plans of God. It was foolish and prideful. I thought I could get everything done if only I did it in my timing. As I write it out I see how foolish it sounds. But sadly, it’s what was in my heart.
Taking time to stop my world and focus my heart on the Giver of my world keeps my heart in the right position before God. I keep Him on the throne and me at His feet. When I allow my schedule to edge God out, I put myself on the throne and God below me.
Friends, this is dangerous! God will not share His glory and His throne with anyone else! He is a jealous God and worthy of my heart, time, and rest.
Keeping Sabbath is a sign of obedience.
If nothing more, I need to keep Sabbath because God commands it. End of story.
Obedience is a struggle for all of us. As I walk this faith journey I am learning how very important my obedience is in the workings of God here on Earth. He doesn’t need me to obey for His will to be accomplished, but He offers me the blessing of partaking in His good plans when I submit my will and obey.
When I stop “working” and rest in Him I show Him I am willing to obey His commands. How can I ever expect Him to trust me with His dreams and desires for my life if I fail to be obedient to His already known commands?
Keeping Sabbath is an act of trust.
The world is quick to tell us, especially in American culture, that rest is for the weak. In order to make the deal, sign the contract, and get ahead we must work more, give up self care, and sacrifice faith and family time in order to be the best.
God has a very different agenda. His Word says to work six days, and then rest one whole day. God isn’t asking for me to give up all my time for Him. He’s telling me to set aside one day to set the stage for my week. Start my week with Him as my focus. Bind my attention to Him first and then trust Him to get everything done in the next 6 days.
When I observe the Sabbath I tell God I am trusting in His ways over the ways of the world. I am looking to Him to be my Provider, my Wisdom and my Guide. I am trusting in His way of doing life over the world’s way and acting out my trust with my obedience.
Now let’s be real about a few things before we wrap this up. I’m not saying that if you work on Sunday God’s going to strike you down. I’m not even saying I think God has commanded that there is one specific day when everything stops. Depending on your work and life, your day of Sabbath may look different on the calendar than mine.
What I am saying is the Sabbath is more about our hearts and wills than it is a day of the week. Sabbath means we stop. We stop working, we stop the rat race, we stop “doing” and start “being” in the presence of God. We sit still in Him. We surrender our schedules to Him. We turn our minds from our obligations and toward Him. In my world it isn’t possible for me to not do anything on our Sabbath. Tiny people need breakfast, and humans need to be kept alive. But I do have a choice in allowing my sabbath to be overrun with tasks or allowing my soul rest from the hustle and bustle of life.
Sabbath is about telling God thank you for the days of work, and offering to Him a day of rest in His presence.
How are you doing with keeping Sabbath? Is your soul overwhelmed? Are you anxious with all your tasks and scheduling issues? We can’t expect God to meet the needs of our souls when we don’t bring them to Him in obedience. Let’s slow our hearts and still our minds this coming week and trust God with our time.